Parley approves new constitution amendments



PARLIAMENT yesterday approved a motion for wide ranging amendments to the constitution to “fix” Lacunas. This followed a private member’s motion moved by Mwansabombwe Patriotic Front (PF) Member of Parliament Rogers Mwewa who urged Government through Parliament to amend the Constitution of Zambia so as to provide for the membership of MPs to local councils and also to remove the lacunas therein. His motion was seconded by Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) Serenje Member of Parliament Maxwell Kabanda. Mr Mwewa’s motion caused a division in the House which prompted the Speaker of the National Assembly to subject the motion to a majoritarian electronic vote. Ninety-one  MPs, representing 63.19 percent of the House, voted in favour of the motion while 52 members representing 36.11 per cent voted against the motion and one member was recorded absent. In moving the motion, Mr Mwewa urged the Government to revert to the first-past-the-post system of electing the President because going forward it would be costly to go for the second ballot.Mr Mwewa said Article 105 on swearing in of the President- elect should also be amended because it was necessary that the person declared President-elect is sworn into office within 24 hours of such declaration in order to avoid instability, threat to national security and peace that was witnessed soon after the 2016 general elections. “Mr Speaker, what almost erupted in the past election leaves a lot to be desired; we saw Zambians being displaced by fellow Zambians. People scampered in different directions running for their lives,” he said. Government has also been urged to immediately start the process of amending the Constitution of Zambia to allow Members of Parliament become members of local authorities and participate in their activities. But UPND Monze Central Member of Parliament Jack Mwiimbu, who strongly opposed the motion, described it as fraud, frivolous and a scheme. Others who supported the motion included Kabwe Central MP Tutwa Ngulube, Justice Minister Given Lubinda, Home Affairs Minister Steven Kampyongo, Local Government Minister Vincent Mwale, Kantanshi MP Antony Mumba and Luposhi MP Bwalya Chungu, among others.